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Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:02 pm
by Thurston Garden
Good description George! Where I fell down was multi fuel - I thought this meant you could burn either wood or coal, but to have a lasting fire you really need to burn both together (in my Squirrel at least). I am not keen on burning coal but pretty much have to.

I need to start the fire in the normal way with paper and kindling. I then need a small shovel of anthracite to put a heart in the fire. The anthracite fills the dished grate and provides a heart. After the coal is glowing, I then add logs on top. Now this is fine if you only need the fire on for a few hours. The antracite burns out after maybe 3 or 4 hours. Burning logs only after this time does not work well as the log ends sit on the top sides of the dished grate and the finer log ash falls easily through the grate bars meaning there's no heart to the fire. I need to add more anthracite to put a heart back in and will then get another 3 or 4 hours of logs burning well on the top.

There's also two air vents - one supplying air from underneath the grate via a spindle on the front door under the glass. Open for coal and shut for logs. The secondary air supply is a hole at the top of the stove in the rear wall with a cover controlled by a lever under the stove. This should be open for logs and shut for coal. It's taken me a year to work out how to operate it successfully. I am quite slow on the uptake mind!

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:21 pm
by GeorgeSalt
I gave up on wood when I had the Squirrel, with anthracite I could keep the fire in 24/7 even when out all day at work. A riddle, empty of the ashpan and refuel in the morning.. a small top-up when I got home in the early evening.. empty the ashpan and refuel before bed. The Squirrel has a compromise grate, better suited to hard fuels.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:24 pm
by Thurston Garden
George could you keep the glass clean on coal alone? I find that on coal alone and closed up reasonably tight at night, the glass is black in the morning.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:37 pm
by GeorgeSalt
Thurston Garden wrote:George could you keep the glass clean on coal alone? I find that on coal alone and closed up reasonably tight at night, the glass is black in the morning.


I had to clean the glass once a week or so.. but if you're burning anthracite you shouldn't be adjusting the damper too much at night. Fill the bed up with fuel and let it burn through with enough air to burn properly. But I did have the airwash Cleanheat version, there are two or three different versions of the Squirrel.

Do you have a fluepipe thermometer? - they're very handy for monitoring how the fire is burning.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:07 pm
by Thurston Garden
Thanks. Mine is the Cleanheat version with the top vent in the rear and the lever underneath. You are right, there's a trick to getting the air flows right. I don't have a flue thermometer - I have an insulated flue with maybe 60mm of uninsulated flue between the stove and the insulated parts. I don't think that's enough to stick a thermometer on.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:08 pm
by skeast
Yikes, you guys are scaring the heck out of me, I just wanted something to run on a few evenings to boost the low temp the radiators are set at. I dont know anything about keeping a heart in or the different fuels. I was just going to bung wood in, some logs and any off cuts I can scroung up.

Should I not be doing this ?

My friend says that as there is a pre-existing fire place I dont need to mess with building regs, he is just going to link the stove into the chimney, not lining it or anything.

This is the stove he found

http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/produ ... iron-stove

Is it a good thing to do.....

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:56 pm
by Thurston Garden
I cannot vouch for that particular stove. The ones in MM always seemed to be very cheap to me. I might have been tempted to hunt down a second hand one of a known brand - morso/charnwood and the like.

I think every stove situation is different regarding getting the best heat from the fuel. The stove, flue diameter and length and the draught over the chimney all play their part and make each house unique. You will eventually work out what is best for your situation.

I am no expert on the regs at all, I only know what I had to do on a new build in Scotland. I do think that lining the flue if there is any doubt at all about it's integrity is necessary. That's coming from a man who once bought a house with a gas fire just shoved in an old fireplace and siliconed round the bricks. How the previous owner survived long enough to sell me the house remains a mystery to this day......

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:32 pm
by diggernotdreamer
We are just installing another stove. We got our first one 6 years ago and it is a bit nerve racking at first. We had a plentiful supply of pallets and any logs a tree surgeon brought round. We only wanted free wood, it seemed counter productive to pay for it, so cutting up pallets was great. They have a lot of nails, but that wasn't a problem, we just shovelled them out of the fire and when the stuff was cool, I riddled the ash out and put the nails into the scrap metal and the ashes into the compost heap. We did invest in a twin walled stainless steel flue as we thought burning that kind of wood would create a lot of sticky creosote, and that won't stick to stainless. Every now and again we would give it a really good hot burn and you could hear the stuff falling off, but in an unlined chimney, I guess it might cause problems if you burn a lot of soft wood like pine, it does have a lot of resin. We kept our stove going all the time, before going to bed at night, we would put on all the chunky bits that make the feet of the pallets and if we had it, a few good logs, let it burn for a bit then damped it down, the stove was still hot in the morning, with some wood still smouldering in it and once the air was allowed back in, it got going again with some smaller bits of dry wood. We won't need to keep a fire in all night now as the house in so well insulated it keeps warm with one hours heating on in the morning for the day, so just for evening use. They do ramp through the wood scraps and softwoods, which is fine if you get them free.
It takes a bit of getting used to a stove, they all have their funny little ways and you have to try different things to get the best results, I remember we had a house full of smoke at first until we sorted out how it all worked and needed to put another meter on the flue to give a good draw on our single storey flat roof extension (cue building regs police).

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:45 am
by GeorgeSalt
I would always have the flue lined - it's allows the fire to burn more effeiciently, and with an old chimney that's been out of use for a while it's pieces of mind that there are no leaks. You need to be sure the hearth is suitable, the stove manufacturer will supply information on whether or not a constructional hearth is required - at the rated capacity and budget price point of the MM stove I suspect it will need one. At that rated output you'll also need room ventillation to supply enough air for draught - if it's an old house with open floorboards you mey be ok, but newer houses or if you've a fitted carppet, laminate or engineered floor you may not have enough incoming air. The MM stove is 11.8 kW rated output - that's a fairly beefy stove.

You should read Part J of the Building Regulations and decide for yourself what to do. The Regulations apply whether you have an existing flue or not, and it's your responsibility as the home owner to demonstrate compliance.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:10 am
by Crickleymal
skeast wrote:Yikes, you guys are scaring the heck out of me, I just wanted something to run on a few evenings to boost the low temp the radiators are set at. I dont know anything about keeping a heart in or the different fuels. I was just going to bung wood in, some logs and any off cuts I can scroung up.

Should I not be doing this ?

My friend says that as there is a pre-existing fire place I dont need to mess with building regs, he is just going to link the stove into the chimney, not lining it or anything.

This is the stove he found

http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/produ ... iron-stove

Is it a good thing to do.....


I got this stove http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/produ ... iron-stove but crucially I got it off ebay from Worcester Stoves(not Worcester Boilers note) for £190. I do find that unless you get a good bed of ashes then burning wood can be a bit tricky. Load it up with coal and it'll burn quite economically. Once you get the balance with wood it's good though.
Our installer told us we didn't need a flue liner.

If you go to the Clarke website you can download an instruction manual which is quite useful and didn't come with our stove.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:46 am
by Crickleymal
Here's something I tried last night with great success. Because our stove is multifuel it's got a grate with slots in which isn't the best for burning wood as the ashes drop through. What I did last night was to put down a layer of flat wood (old tongue and groove about 1cm thick) on the grate, leaving a few gaps for air. Then I laid the kindling on top of that and started the fire normally. It made a great bed of embers for the fire to start on and it was toasty warm really quickly.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:57 am
by GeorgeSalt
Thurston Garden wrote:I have an insulated flue with maybe 60mm of uninsulated flue between the stove and the insulated parts. I don't think that's enough to stick a thermometer on.


Our current stove has a flue the magnet won't stick to, so I just put it on the stove top as close to the flue as possible.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:09 pm
by Thomzo
With regard to the shredded paper, it makes a good firelighter. Just put a good bed on the bottom of the fire, layer up cardboard then kindling (twigs) and set fire to the paper. It works really well. I also stuff cardboard tubes (loo and kitchen roll) and small boxes with the stuff before putting it on the fire. Too much paper and cardboard will fill the ash pan too quickly but you'll work out what proportions to use.

Don't panic about the stove. Just enjoy playing with it. Each one is different as the way they burn depends on so many variables. Everybody who has one tells a different story.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:18 pm
by Lochside Yogi
One tip I picked up when trawling through the many websites about stoves, was when just burning wood remove the grate and the ash pan, replace with about 3 inches of sand and keep the lower air vent closed. Recently tried it myself with sand from the local beach(very ish) and it seems to work very well aslong as you get the temperature high enough for whichever sort of wood you are using. I only have un-seasoned birch and ash available at the moment, but if I chop it small enough and get the stove burning hot enough it seems very efficient, and the sand acts as an extra heatsink.

Re: New to heating stoves

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:52 pm
by Esme
Before I got my easy wood supply, I once advertised on freecycle offering to collect waste wood. A lot of folk were very keen for me to come and remove waste wood or wooden furniture (!). One even had a lot of big branches which a cowboy tree surgeon had left in their garden.
It depends if you have transport, and how far you are willing to go. I didn't travel more than say five miles otherwise the fuel costs offset the free timber costs. Loads of folk do just want rid of what is to them, rubbish. Friends and relatives will also be glad to offload woody rubbish onto you.
I also carry a bow saw in the boot of the car, in case of large, fallen branches.